Susanna Jablonski at Kalmar Konstmuseum, SE

 Susanna Jablonski / LONG TIME LISTENER, FIRST TIME CALLER
 
13 okt – 12 Dec, 2021
 
Curated by: Karin Bähler Lavér 
 

Long Time Listener, First
Time Caller, 2021, installation view

Long Time Listener, First Time
Caller, 2021, installation view

Long Time Listener, First
Time Caller, 2021, installation view

Bottle (detail), 2021,
Susanna Jablonski

My Phone Died and I am
Running Late (detail), 2021, Susanna Jablonski

Untitled, 2021, Cara Tolmie
& Susanna Jablonski

Long Time Listener (detail),
2020, Susanna Jablonski

Untitled, 2020, Susanna
Jablonski

Untitled, 2020, Susanna
Jablonski

Untitled (Anna Freud) 2021,
Susanna Jablonski

Untitled, 2021, Susanna
Jablonski

Untitled (detail), 2020,
Susanna Jablonski

Untitled, 2020, Susanna
Jablonski

Brunnsring, 2018, Susanna
Jablonski

Fölunge, 1940, Hebert
Marcus

My Phone Died and I am
Running Late (detail), 2021, Susanna Jablonski

Gjutningar
(detail), 1996-1998, Elisabeth Jablonska

Gjutningar
(detail), 1996-1998, Elisabeth Jablonska

Long Time Listener, First Time
Caller, 2021, installation view

First Time Caller (detail),
2020, Susanna Jablonski

First Time Caller (detail),
2020, Susanna Jablonski

Long Time Listener, First
Time Caller, 2021, installation view

Untitled, 2021, Susanna
Jablonski

First Time Caller (detail),
2021, Susanna Jablonski

Long Time Listener and First
Time Caller, 2020, Susanna Jablonski

Pigeon, 2020, Susanna
Jablonski

Long Time Listener, First
Time Caller, 2021, installation view

Listening Panels (A Line of
Song)  (detail) 2021, Cara Tolmie &
Susanna Jablonski

Listening Panels (A Line of Song)
2021, Cara Tolmie & Susanna Jablonski

My Phone Died and I am
Running Late (detail), 2021, Susanna Jablonski

Long Time Listener, First Time
Caller, 2021, installation view

Long Time Listener, First Time
Caller, 2021, installation view

Long Time Listener, First
Time Caller, 2021, installation view

Fan, 2018/2021, Susanna
Jablonski

The Orchestra (detail), 2020,
Susanna Jablonski

The Orchestra, 2020,
Susanna Jablonski

Untitled, 2021, Susanna
Jablonski

Long Time Listener, First Time
Caller, 2021, installation view

First Time Caller, 2020,
Susanna Jablonski

 

                                                                      Fan (2018/2021), Susanna
Jablonski
 

                                                                   Wall Knocker, 2021, Susanna
Jablonski | William Rickman
 

                                                                  Bottle, 2021, Susanna
Jablonski
 

                                                                Bottle, 2021, Susanna
Jablonski 

 

                                                                  The Orchestra, 2020,
Susanna Jablonski

 

                                                                 The Orchestra, 2020 (detail)
Susanna Jablonski

 

 Susanna Jablonski works with sculpture, moving images and spatial
installations. Her works, which are an interplay between material, image and
language, simultaneously express the most monumental and the everyday. In
tactile, sculptural scenes, she takes on questions of time and history, of
collective experiences of grief and struggle. To experience Susanna Jablonski’s
installations is to move and see through time, to exist in the world with
heightened awareness.

 

 

The prologue for Long Time Listener, First Time Caller takes
place in Karlshäll, just outside Luleå in Sweden, on a day in
June 2020. The site is marked by the Second World War and Sweden’s involvement
in it. The evidence is there, if we only know to look for it. If you make the
journey out to Karlshäll you are met by a large, open field, scattered with
what appears to be rubble but that on closer inspection reveals what has taken
place there. On Midsummer’s Day 2016 two buildings that had been made available
to the Nazi-German army, and therefore gone by the name “Tyskmagasinen” (the
German Warehouses), were burned to the ground. There is no information about
what happened. Other than that which remains. Charred wood, glass shaped by the
heat, bits of scrap metal molten together and taking on new shapes. No one
knows who chose to set the warehouses on fire or why. The buildings, which
until the day they burned down had been allowed to bear witness to what had
happen there, are now a breeze in the air, ash on the ground, a feeling of
uneasiness. The buildings, which until the day they burned down had remained a
physical contradiction to Sweden’s presumed neutrality during the Second World
War, are now an image in the archives, a story to tell.

 

Susanna Jablonski approached the space like an archaeological
site. Meticulously she collected, categorised and grouped the artifacts, the
evidence: the wood, glass, metal. She carried them with her like one carries
one’s history, into her work and her art. Letting these objects become the
starting point for the installation that would later be shown at Havremagasinet
(the Oats Warehouse), Norbotten’s regional arts centre in Boden, was a way of
thinking about how objects and architecture are used and valued as monuments of
time and historical events. Especially how those events that don’t leave
tangible traces such as architecture or monuments, remain in bodies in other
ways: traces, marks, threads – both material and immaterial. Havremagasinet,
which houses its own military history, was through Susanna Jablonski’s
installation haunted by the memory of Tyskmagasinen and at once charged with
new potential. Material from the fire are now placed on hidden shelves in two
sculptural bodies that give the exhibition its name – Long Time Listener, First
Time Caller – as well as along one of the walls of the exhibition space, like
relics in a historical museum.

 

 

”There is no place that is not haunted by many different spirits
hidden there in silence, spirits one can `invoke ́ or not. Haunted places are
the only ones people can live in …”
Michel de
Certeau writes in Practices of Everyday Life. As the installation now
moves from its original physical context and is reassembled in another room,
whose walls echo with different stories, it is not just spirits of military
history that are invoked, but also those who with their presence bring about a
displacement of the relationships and circumstances that we take for granted.
In Kalmar, the installation is less concerned with one specific event, and more
with events in time. Based on the assumption that great history always stands
in direct relationship to the personal, Long Time Listener, First Time
Caller
, speaks of possible ways of approaching reality. In the exhibition,
links are established between personally experienced time and the historical.
How to make the past present and perceptible? Susanna Jablonski connects
fragments, bodies and testimonies that together speak of communal realities and
contexts that condition our existence.

 

The titles of the works Shagal (2019) and Dov (2020)
refer to two historical persons – one public and one very personal to Susanna
Jablonski. Shagal takes its name from that which was the artist Marc
Chagall’s (1887–1985) original, Jewish name. Dov was one of Susanna
Jablonski’s grandfather’s Hebrew names, which was shed when he reached Sweden
as a Holocaust survivor. Shagal is woven using twigs of willow and
joined by paper clay along its spine; Dov carries a shimmering plumage
of black and blue. Two alienated bodies that both take their shape from the
thorax of a horse. They are fragile constructions that nevertheless hold
history together. Or to use a description by the artist Santiago Mostyn: “Memorials
that stand at the intersection of what is present and what is absent: mementos
for the future.”

 

In the novel Austerlitz, the German writer W. G. Sebald
writes: “It seems to me then as if all the moments of our life occupy the
same space, as if future events already existed and were only waiting for us to
find our way to them at last, just as when we have accepted an invitation we
duly arrive in a certain house at a given time.”

About twenty years ago, the artist Elisabeth Jablonska, Susanna’s
aunt, participated in an exhibition in the subterranean passages beneath the
old building of Kalmar konstmuseum. It is as though Elisabeth already then
opened a door for Susanna into the museum, as if Susanna’s presence now
prolongs that of Elisabeth. Susanna Jablonski’s installation features a series
of iron sculptures made by Elisabeth Jablonska in the 1990s. These forms have
been transferred from documented drawings to surfaces, onwards to sewn textile
objects. Objects filled and cast in iron – objects transformed. Some of these
sculptures start from halos traced on medieval murals. Others come from images
and items in her studio. The sacred and the profane are equalised – Jablonska
and Jablonski meet in the impulse to mix and juxtapose the otherwordly with the
commonplace, and that way achieve a different symbolic order. In relation to
the fragile and ethereal in Jablonski’s work, Jablonska’s sculptures ground and
anchor, they force us to the ground.

 

The mediated experience of the Holocaust is shared in their
biographical kinship. What does it mean to carry heritage, in relation to
creating images? Long Time Listener, First Time Caller is a long and
multi- faceted conversation across generations, beyond time and place. By
inviting and engaging in a spatial dialogue with those who have come before
her, Susanna Jablonski seeks contact with the conditions for her own
creativity.

The Orchestra, from 2020, is a glass mobile
shimmering in yellow, blue and purple. The figures are borrowed from Marc
Chagall’s painting Le Grand Cirque, in oil and gouache from 1956. The
two-dimensional surface of the painting has been transferred to glass and
allowed to take on a three-dimensional shape. Details in the painting can be
interpreted as nods to religiosity. Marc Chagall continuously returned to
depictions of the Vitebsk of his childhood: the daily activities, but also the
fiddlers and the circus; “the sudden invasion of the wonderful in the rhythm
of the everyday”
. Marc Chagall’s painting is a reccurring reference for
Susanna Jablonski. The dreamlike, floating figures in The Orchestra do not just
conjure up Marc Chagall’s imagery but also the world of pictures that became
her earliest impressions. Images that have stuck in her memory and come to take
on new meanings at different stages of life.

 

 

The passing of time can be read in the glass sculptures that both
carry and are shaped by fossilised coral. Other figures in paper clay contain
digital clocks that give the actual time. In Long Time Listener, First Time
Caller
the ephemeral and the perpetual are both simultaneously present.
Objects, tales and memories chronicle a being in time. We exist in the middle
of events, in the middle of history. But rather than presenting 2020 a set,
defined meaning, Susanna Jablonski’s installation is a space where new meaning
can emerge. An invitation for us all to arrive.

 

Karin Bähler Lavér

 

 

 

 

 

 

The exhibition Long Time Listener, First Time Caller also includes
works by Elisabeth Jablonska, Herbert Marcus and artistic collaborations with
Willian Rickman and Cara Tolmie.